“I think I’ve maximized every single opportunity that has been thrown my way and scored a touchdown every time an opportunity has come my way.”
Devon (name spelling change) won the TNA television title. Bubba, now known as Bully Ray, had other ideas.
Bully Ray worked an angle with Hulk Hogan where Bully married Hogan’s lovely daughter, Brooke, only to later dupe them. At TNA’s Lockdown pay-per-view in March, Bully Ray turned heel by defeating Jeff Hardy for the TNA title, using a hammer provided by none other than Devon, who was a member of the new heel faction Aces & Eights, an outlaw, renegade group who did what they want, when they wanted. Gang style sneak attacks the mantra.
Surprise. Surprise. Bully Ray then revealed himself to be the President of Aces & Eights, and his individual character really took off.
“I’ve enjoyed the transition [into singles wrestling],” Bully said. “It’s not something that I ever thought I was going to do. It’s not something I ever really wanted to do. I got into pro wrestling to be a successful tag team wrestler.
“The biggest challenge was getting into the shape I got myself into. I’ve never been in phenomenal shape, not that I’m in phenomenal shape, but I’m in the best shape in my life. That was a challenge, and the other real challenge is being in the ring without a partner. When you wrestle all over the world for 15 years, and you’re used to having somebody by your side, it’s a little different when you turn around and look at that corner, and nobody’s there. As far as challenges are concerned, I’m pretty happy with how everything’s gone so far.”
Bully Ray is impressing with his work on the mic and became more comfortable working singles matches.
“I’m just out there as me being me, doing what I do,” he said. “I’m extremely comfortable when I’m out there. Whether it’s pro wrestling or hitting a baseball or throwing a football or shooting a hockey puck, you have to be comfortable with what you’re doing to be a successful performer.
“I know how to go out there, and I know how to draw emotion from people. I know how to strike a chord with them. I know how to get under their skin. I know how to get a reaction, and I’m proud to say that there’s probably nobody in the wrestling business who can do it quite like I do.”
• Advice to aspiring professional wrestlers?
“Relax. Go out there. Speak from the heart, get your message across and get to the point,” he said. “People in this day and age don’t have a huge attention span. Get in it. Get on. Get off. Get out.
“Say what you got to say. Get the emotional effect that you want from the fans, and that’s it, and that’s what I do. I’m proud of my ability to be able to go out there and do that at a very high level every week.”
Devon retired, and Aces & Eights is downsizing (for now), but Bully Ray keeps going, even adding an athletic and beautiful TNA Knockout by his side, Brooke Tessmacher.
So Bully Ray’s got the gold, got the girl, got the talent. Just how far will that take him? To be continued.
• Twitter @RealBully5150.